Analysis and Evaluation of Jean Watson's Theory of Caring
Since its establishment as a profession more than a century ago, Nursing has been a source for numerous debates related to its course, methods and development of nursing knowledge. Many nursing definitions and theories have evolved over time. Furthermore it is in a constant process of been redefined. The purpose of this paper is an overview of Jean Watson's Theory of Caring. This theory can be taken into account as one of the most philosophicaly complicated of existent nursing theories. The Theory of Human Caring, which also has been referred to as the Theory of Transpersonal Caring, is middle range explanatory theory. (Fawccett, 2000) The central point of which is on the human component of caring and actual encounter between the client and the caregiver. Jean Watson has stated that her work was motivated by her search of a new meaning to the world of nursing and patient care. " I felt a dissonnance between nursing's (meta) paradigm of caring-healing and health, and medicines's (meta) paradigm of diagnosis and treatment, and concentration on disease and pathology". (Watson, 1997,p.49) Jean Watson's theory was first published in 1979. Later Watson explained that this work was an attempt to solve some conceptual and empirical problems, with no intention to create a theory. This theory was expanded and formalized in her next book in 1985. Since than Watson continued to refine her ideas through various publications. At his time, the major conceptual elements of the theory are ten Clinical Caritas Processes (originally Carative factors), Transpersonal Caring Relationship, Caring Moment/Occasion and Caring Consciousness. According to Watson's theory, the human care process is performed through a Transpersonal Caring Relationship guided by the Carative factors, which are based on humanistic altruistic value system. The Theory of Human Caring was initialy based on data about variety of aspects of caring, collected through open ended quistionnaire. The purpose of this research was to evaluate different points of view, expressed by both the clients and registered nurses. In addition to this data, Watson's theory uses broadly recognized work from other disciplines. Specific philosophers cited by Watson, as sources are Rogers, Whitehead, Gadow, Yalom etc. Furthermore, she also recognises the contribution of the eastern philosophy in her work. According toWatson (1985), her philosophical orientation is existential phemenological, spiritual and methaphysical. She is the first nursing theorist to support the idea of soul and to accentuate the spiritual dimension of human existence. Watson describes nursing as an art and a human science with the major focus being the process of a human care for individuals, families and groups. According to her beliefs, body, mind and soul are distinquished from each other. Nevertheless, Watson also states that harmony is required among the three to be the highest form of health and that it is the nursing goal to help people to reach this equanimity. This goal can be accomplished through transpersonal relationship. Within the Theory of Human Caring, during transpersonal caring moment, the nurse and the patient gain entry into the lived knowledge of each other. In order for transpersonal contact to occur both the caregiver and the one being cared for should experience a process of being and becoming, both are influenced by the nature of transaction. (Watson, 1985) Watson defines human caring as a moral ideal, that the nurse should carry during every transaction. According to her theory, that ideal will assure a certain needed behaviour at the time of the caring occasion. Another concepts in Watson's theory are person, health, illness and environment. Watson defines person not only as a spiritual being, but also as a material physical being that is also a part of nature and the physical world. "A person is experiencing and perceiving...
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